It’s not that often that a sophomore quarterback that has so many scholarship offers at an early stage in the recruiting period attends BYU’s Junior Day, but that’s exactly what the Cougar coaching staff had in Jake Heaps last Friday. Recently, Heaps received scholarship offers from Cal, Minnesota, South Carolina and Arizona State, bringing his total to 11 offers.
Heaps’ other offers come from BYU, Washington, Washington State, UCLA, Oregon State, Stanford and Boise State.
The amount of attention that Heaps has received has been a bit overwhelming for the sophomore, as would be expected for anyone. Still, the young quarterback takes it all in stride and said he feels every offer is a blessing and a privilege.
“It’s a bit overwhelming, but in a good way,” said Heaps. “I never thought that I would be going into my junior year with all of these offers. It’s been a lot of fun and exciting and a blessing to me, but at the same time when I think about it, it’s like, ‘Oh man, who do I have to tell the bad news to?’ These are a lot of great coaching staffs and good programs that I can go to in all 11. It hasn’t been easy on me in any way, but it’s a lot of fun and I’m very grateful for the opportunities that I’ve been given.”
Much like the unofficial visit he took to BYU, Heaps has also taken unofficial visits to many of the schools that are recruiting him.
“I’ve taken unofficial visits to Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, BYU, USC [and] Washington State,” said Heaps. “So I’ve taken unofficial visits to those schools, and I plan on taking unofficial visits to UCLA and maybe Cal.”
Last Friday, Heaps was able to attend BYU’s Junior Day, an event he was looking forward to.
“I was looking forward to being coached by Coach Doman,” said Heaps. “There were a lot of talented quarterbacks there and it was fun competing against those guys. You can’t get any better unless you’re competing against the best. Jaime [Jensen] was there and Jeff Manning and some other kids were there. We went through the drills and then after that we moved onto the one-on-ones. That was awesome and I did really well. Coach Doman was impressed with me and my footwork, ball-placement and arm strength.”
Heaps got the chance to throw to - and against - some prospects that the BYU coaching staff has already offered full-ride scholarships to. He said he was very impressed with the talent that the Cougar coaching staff had evaluated and offered.
“I got a chance to throw to Kyle Van Noy, Richard Wilson and Mitch Mathews,” said an excited Heaps. “Those three guys are really good.”
Wide receiver Mitch Mathews received a scholarship offer following his performance during Junior Day. The 6-foot-5-inch, 190-pound speedster from Oregon impressed Heaps with his overall athleticism, speed, route running and catching abilities.
“Mitch Mathews is someone that has surprised a lot of people,” Heaps said. “Not a lot of people realize how good he is. He’s gotten so much better over the year and has really developed. He’s also super quick and runs great routes and caught everything I threw to him. Mitch is tall and around 6’5” and really, really fast. His footwork has really developed well. There’s no comparison from this year to last year, and his route running has also developed as well. There hasn’t been a camp that I’ve been to where he is there that he hasn’t made the defensive back look silly. He’s very talented.”
Kyle Van Noy from Reno, Nevada also caught a few balls from Heaps. Heaps raved about Van Noy and his abilities.
“Kyle Van Noy is awesome and we both hit it off right off the bat,” Heaps said. “He is just a great guy and is very, very talented and is very athletic and has the chance to be awesome wherever he plays. I didn’t get a chance to go up against him on the defensive side of the ball, but when he was on offense he was telling me … that coaches weren’t really looking at him as a receiver. You know, as a wide receiver he was unbelievable. He was making great catches and was running great routes for someone who isn’t being considered as a wide receiver. I can see him having a lot of potential at wide out.
“One time I asked him what side of the football he wants to play on, and he told me, ‘Well, I like to hit people, but I also like to catch touchdowns.’ I was like, ‘Hey, I think catching touchdowns is way better than hitting people.’ You know, trying to get him on the offensive side of the ball.”
Heaps also got a chance to throw to tight end prospect Richard Wilson, who has offers from LSU, Miami, Tennessee, BYU and Arizona, among others. During the camp, Heaps also hit it off with Wilson and the two found common ground through their recruiting experiences.
“I talked to him for a little bit and he’s a really good guy,” Heaps said in reference to Wilson. “It was a lot of fun talking with all of these great LDS kids who are going through much of the same things as you are. It was just a lot of fun talking to all those guys and Richard. I mean, he was just another great guy. I’ve never seen someone with his size move so well. He’s very good, very quick for his size and runs great routes with sure hands. I got the chance to play with him and we hooked up all three times, so he’s another great player.”
In talking with football prospects like Mathews, Van Noy and Wilson, Heaps saw how all they were very similar in both personality and goals.
“It was nice to talk to somebody just like you, you know,” said Heaps. “That was fun and I can understand why these guys are being recruited by BYU. It’s just a different environment and a different place for guys like them. There are great coaches down there at BYU and they’re all on the same page. It’s a lot of fun being around those guys when they’re all joking around hanging out.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Heaps got the chance to throw against recent BYU scholarship recipient Chris Badger from Timpview High School. Like Heaps, Badger is one of the only sophomores in the country to have a current offer from BYU.
“Yeah, I can definitely see that he is very good,” Heaps said about Badger. “He’s also someone that is very talented that BYU is very high on. He’s only a sophomore like me and I’ve heard great things about him.”
While at BYU, Heaps turned from football prospect to host as he showed his sister Brittany and new brother-in-law Jason around the BYU campus and introduced them to many of the Cougar coaches.
“I had a blast and it was a ton of fun,” said Heaps. “I got the chance to show my new brother-in-law around BYU, who’s just been my brother in law for about two weeks now or so. I also got to show my sister around, so it was just a lot of fun. They were really excited and they had a lot of fun meeting all the coaches, and got a chance to see all the football offices and practice facilities.
“We also went up to the Gordon B. Hinckley Memorial Building, and we got to meet John Bytheway. He did a little presentation for us and it was a lot of fun meeting him, so it was a lot of fun and they had a blast. They can’t wait for me to come back.”
As a prolific sophomore quarterback, Heaps has been to a variety of camps, and was therefore able to compare the talent as those camps to the talent at BYU’s.
“I’ve been to many camps,” Heaps said. “I’ve been to some Nike Camps [and] the Barton Combine, and you usually get some really good Northwest talent out there. I’ve been to the Steve Clarkson Academy, and the talent at BYU was just as good, if not better. There were so many talented players all gathered together at one place and it was a fun deal.”